After 34 years here and four in the remote area …

Comment on Tourism: let the battle for the big spenders begin by Trevor Shiell.

After 34 years here and four in the remote area tourism area I think the planning authorities have missed the mark in focusing on the high yield end of the market, and are being slightly greedy.
One manager put it to me this way: I would rather have one client paying $1000 a night than 100 clients paying $10.
Less problems and easier money. They miss the point that 100 people coming here spend more money in associated businesses – food, entertainment, regional travel etc that one “high yielding” client.
The total return to the operator might be the same but the distribution of the economic activity is far more widely spread.
This is where we have gone wrong. On a recent trip South in May last year we encountered 374 vans heading North between here and Coober Pedy.
I wondered at the time how many of them actually saw the visitors centre in town or for that matter, went on straight through without being intercepted at all by the town.
Maybe they did not even know where it was. Signage at the same rock perhaps? Still conspicuous by its absence.
There are at least 10 items of interest to visitors between there and the Gap, only one of which is exploited, but we have a brand new row of back yard fences were we should have a vibrant display of everything we do here, advertising ourselves and who we are.
An unique environmentally sound village there would have been a hit, but no, we got a replica of anywhere else in Australia.
Similarly at round the same time I did a brief survey of the traffic flow around the welcome rock south of town and there were 102 people photographed on that rock in the several hours that I sat there.
It is so obvious that his is where the interception area for the “low yielding” visitors should have been and from there, directed to where we want the economic activity to be.
I believe the total benefits to the NT would and should have been far more substantial and widely distributed than a few high yielding people arriving at the five star end of the market which seems to be the ultimate aim of the marketing plan.
I have witnessed caravaners being fined for parking illegally while trying to access the Visitors centre.
These things spread very rapidly amongst the caravaning community. In January last year the ABC programme “Summer all over” ran a survey of what the travelling public want in a visitors centre.
The view was that the essentials were clean toilets and adequate parking. Ours has neither. The refusal of the planners in the industry to look at places such as McLaren Vale, in SA and in North Qld show just how far we are away from enticing travellers to stay here and investigate.
The signage here is appalling and again I invite the planners in the industry to look at SA and the signage around Lake Eyre Eyre and then look at what we offer here. (Anzac Hill!)
There are new attractions all over the world that could be staged here but are ignored. Japan has a 100 km student marathon attracting 80 million TV viewers.
Imagine that from Glen Helen to the Mall, but the planners show no interest in that free publicity when I explained it to them.
The recent sand castle building on the beach South of Adelaide could be replicated here in the Todd.
So the list goes on and will be so until the planners take off their blinkers and look around at where the real market is, and act accordingly.

Recent Comments by Trevor Shiell

CLP would build gallery at Desert Park, not Anzac precinct
It should be at Desert Knowledge and used as a training ground for the students at Yirara College in management of their own cultural heritage and as a positive display of Indigenous education art and culture.
It should a major component of a brand new tourism precinct between The Gap and the airport with the new visitors centre, with plenty of parking and a bush foods orchard plus community facilities at the sadly under-utilised Transport Hall of Fame.
Townsville has a mining centre of excellence.
We have a great mineral museum at ASRI. Why not here?
Can anyone really proclaim the success of the dinosaur museum or why two major banks moved out from that area?
This would release the CBD to do what it does so well – accomodation and retail.
Again we have failed to cherry pick the best of what is happening elsewhere.
The other side of Longreach there is a long display of old time machinery right along the major highway which together with the Old Ghan engine, and first semi where many tourists stop now, would make a magnificent entry to a brand new tourism precinct.

Gas fuelled reconstruction for the Territory
One wonders which rock some people live on.
The Permian Basin under Texas has more gas than the world needs for years with more in train.
Prices are low.
The East Coast may be short of gas in a market constrained in part by manipulation by our largest investment bank to jack up prices for them.
The Connor plan of 40 years ago was the answer with a nation wide network of pipelines.
On the other hand, the Feds have just released their National Hydrogen Strategy and the shortest and most cost effective way to get gas east from the NW shelf is to Brewer and Tennant creek – a fact not unnoticed by the said bank. Hence their investment.
But the shortsighted approach so common here has prevailed again in a lack of long term vision.
We don’t need Beetaloo. In the meantime the Feds have just put out their National Hydrogen Strategy. The first to jump on this was Queensland and Real Energy (ASX RLE) which is in the process of establishing Pure Hydrogen Corporation, in Queensland, of course, which will power 240,000 vehicles for a year with no pollution! We could have had that here but again the government had blinkers and fumes in their eyes.
A similar thing is happening South of Adelaide (hydrogen) based on the quality of their sunlight(?).
We never invited them to come here, but our biggest asset is our sunlight. Additionally we have two high production and lucrative helium wells close by here and feeling very neglected, as the rest of Alice Springs constantly does.

Wakefield ready for fight: affirms intention to acquire oval
Did the Dinasaur museum do anything to enliven that end of the mall? Figures on entry? (Todd Tavern does better.) It too should have been at the Geological museum at AZRI in conjunction with the cultural centre across the road at Yirara, involving the students, and a new contemporary visitors’ centre at the Transport Hall of Fame, as in Katherine and as apart of a brand new tourism precinct between the gap and the airport, leaving the current CBD as a historical display site – what’s left of it!.
Pitchi Richi site? Shameful in spite of the best interests of some locals.
Townsville has a mining centre of excellence,like we should have at at the Minerals display at ASRI. It’s almost like we are ashamed of our unique geology.
Qld has a solar highway Brisbane to Cairns. What have we got on our approaches? City type metropolitan houses so Southern tourists can feel at home.
How long will it be before Governments realise that the economic future of the town lies South of the gap in spite of the vested interests protecting their backsides North of the gap. The number of vehicles moving in that direction daily should surely tell them something.

Lucky the Town Council isn’t in the forestry business
Forget the ombudsman. He has moved to Darwin just like the Jacana lady and the PAWA person.
If you want to contact them breed some messenger pigeons and wait to be contacted within the next few working days. Or weeks. We really don’t matter to them and what was once the Berrimah line had morphed into the great wall of Katherine.

A touch of light: termite alates
I have never understood why the active ingredient in native pine has not been isolated and used to protect our timber houses.
Much better than CCA treatment from all points of view and why CCA vineyard training fences are now strictly controlled.
Most people don’t take the trouble to find out what the “A” in CCA stands for arsenic. This is of course, also why the original telegraph line used native pine poles.
What is it in native pine that repels termites? No one ever bothered to ask and this could have been a significant project economically for this town where termites are a real problem.
The significance of this has never been seen by the science or political community.
One would have thought that in the common good of he community the task of using this common observation to our advantage would have been instantly assigned to DKA or CSIRO to investigate and applied for the common good.
This is just another example of political thought, common sense observation, scientific training, and political ignorance are often mutually exclusive, and why I built my deck with Cyprus pine.

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